No body is too small to feel joy, but it often becomes overwhelming when optimism turns to fear and anger. Zetta Elliott reminds readers in A Place Inside of Me that it takes strength and courage for people to alter their intense feelings into positive change.
Zetta Elliot’s poem A Place Inside of Me is a contemporary piece that explores a little boy and his community’s feelings and responses following a police shooting. As a community primarily of people of color as described in Elliott’s poem and shown in Noa Denmon’s illustrations, Elliott uses the change of seasons to illustrate the variety of powerful emotions that the boy and his community are experiencing, such as joy, fear, anger, pride, and peace. A Place Inside of Me reminds all children, neighborhoods, and readers that it is okay to feel negative emotions—fear and anger—in response to violence and inequality. However, like the seasons, emotions can transform with positive affirmations and continuing the fight for change in thought and unfair rulings. Grief is a cycle, and the most important lesson is to continue the fight for equality and individuality through love. Love yourself and love your community for enriching your life and allowing you to always be true to yourself. (All ages)